Weekly Tech News Update 13/3/2017

Optus strong arms subscribers into rushed NBN decision, Elon Musk offers solution to SA’s power woes, “Fully Loaded” Kodi boxes could be illegal.

If you are an Optus customer I would urge you to think hard and fast about who you decide to move to or NBN services.

Last week, it was revealed that Optus is engaging aggressive sales tactics to force a rushed decision to consumers and businesses to switch from their existing HFC network to what some would call an inferior NBN service by ignoring the 18 month window publicly stated by NBNco instead telling customers they have as little as 30 days to move to the new service to avoid disconnection.

Even though it is up to Optus when they shut down their own Optus Cable network, forcing customers to make a decision within 30 days shows the level of desperation within the telco to retain subscribers.

I even got a similar call myself even though I was not in an Optus serviced area! When they worked out I was not going to move from my existing HFC service, they then tried to get me to sign up to their mobile phone service and put me on contract. I even had the manager from the call center call me a second time to try the sales pitch again! From where I was, it was all one way traffic in the favour of Optus.

The last time I was canvassed this aggressively it was through the fake windows support scam.

Right now, my opinion of Optus is only slightly above ransomware operators and if I was a subscriber to Optus, I would be hanging up on the telco to move all of my services to a provider more deserving of my business.

Optus, you have now hit rock bottom and it is my sincere hope you realise that you cannot prey on the people that do not know better with such impunity. You will be called out for this kind of behaviour and you are now well and truly in the spotlight.

Story can be found on smh.com.au.

Elon Musk offers to fix SA’s power woes in 100 days or it is free.

Those familiar with South Australia will know that they have bad power supply that is now world-famous thanks to blackouts lasting up to 2 weeks.

Pretty amazing stuff but this has come to the attention of Elon Musk, founder of Tesla motors and Tesla PowerWall among other things. The billionaire found out about the power problems thanks to a tweet from co-founder of aussie software maker Atlassian Corp, Mike Cannon-Brookes who offered to line up funding and political support if Musk could bring the technology.

Musk replied in a tweet that he would offer to supply enough batteries and support infrastructure to give the state added power capacity to supplement the existing intermittent supply from renewable energy already in use.

The response from business and consumers has been so overwhelming that the SA government is seriously considering the offer.

You can find the story over at Venturebeat.

Are Kodi boxes legal?

I am starting to see more of these set top boxes around that allow users to access previously unavailable services like EPL and thousands of other streams usually not available within Australia for free.

Now since this is getting traction and you are effectively getting something for nothing, people are rightly so giving pause and asking if this is really legal?

Using the Kodi box in itself is not illegal but the wrinkle comes in when you get a “fully loaded” Kodi where extra plugins are installed to give you access to additional services. This is allowing you access to protected content without permission or subscription which is illegal.

It falls into the same category as using a Torrent program. Using a Torrent or other file sharing program is perfectly fine but when you use that program to download and re-share copyright protected content like TV series and movies then you are breaking intellectual property laws.

My take? Play this game at your own risk. As a user your risk might be low but if you are selling these boxes, you are playing a potentially dangerous game that could land you in court like this UK man fined £250k for selling “Fully Loaded” Kodi boxes.